Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Civil War in Arizona: The Story of the California Volunteers, 1861-1865

by Andrew E. Masich

From the publisher:
Bull Run, Gettysburg, Appomattox. For Americans, these battlegrounds, all located in the eastern United States, will forever be associated with the Civil War. But few realize that the Civil War was also fought far to the west of these sites. The westernmost battle of the war took place in the remote deserts of the future state of Arizona.

In this first book-length account of the Civil War in Arizona, Andrew E. Masich chronicles the all-but-forgotten story of the California Column, volunteer soldiers who served in the U.S. Army from 1861 to 1866 and played a key role in creating and shaping Arizona Territory.

The Civil War in Arizona is divided into two parts: a lively narrative history of the California Column in wartime Arizona, followed by a rare compilation of letters - originally published in the popular newspaper Alta California - written by the volunteer soldiers themselves. Enriched by Masich's meticulous annotation, these letters provide firsthand testimony of the grueling desert conditions the soldiers endured as they fought on many fronts, not the least of which was an uncaring army command structure preoccupied with war in the East.